Thiruvananthapuram: Culture minister A. K. Balan and tourism minister Kadkampally Surendran have come out against the government order cancelling all the major cultural fixtures for a year including International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), state-level school youth festival and Travel Mart in the wake of flood havoc.
The General Administration Department (GAD) issued an order to this effect on Tuesday. The other festivities cancelled include the university arts festivals and various shows of the tourism department.
However, the order has irked various departments, including tourism and culture, as they were not intimated in advance. The culture minister had, in fact, convened a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the film festival. Moreover, various departments had been going ahead with planning to host the Nehru Trophy boat race which was earlier rescheduled due to the floods.
The government said that the funds earmarked for these programmes will be channelised into the chief minister’s disaster relief fund. The annual school youth festival was scheduled to be held in Alappuzha in December. The school-level sport meets and work experience meets will also be cancelled.
Though the state school youth festival will not be conducted, grace marks will be given for the district school arts festival by considering the performance as state-level results.
Meanwhile, Balan shot off a letter to chief secretary Tom Jose asking him to reconsider the decision to cancel IFFK. The order issued by GAD Principal Secretary Biswanath Sinha was against the instruction of chief minister. The festival can be conducted avoiding pomp and show, he said.
The minister, however, said that he personally disagreed with the decision to cancel the school youth festival also. There needs to be more clarity on this order. Moreover the Cabinet Subcommittee entrusted with the task of monitoring the rebuilding activities or the Cabinet had not taken any decision,” the minister added. Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran has made clear that the tourism department going ahead with the Kerala Travel Mart to be held from September 27 to September 30. “This is a business event and was not among the festivals dropped on account of flood,” he added.
Chalachitra Academy Chairman Kamal, expressed surprise over the order. “I discussed film festival related issues with Minister this morning,” he added.
"Academy can hold this festival without any celebrations an utilizing our own funds," he added....